WKAR

In Michigan
4:14 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Assistant Michigan AG suspended after arrest

LANSING, MI –

An assistant state attorney general has been suspended following his arrest on gun charges.

Eaton County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sauter told The Associated Press Wednesday that he authorized two misdemeanor warrants charging James Shell with possession of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol and reckless use of a firearm.

Shell's attorney is expected to turn him in for arraignment at a later date.

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WKAR Features
8:12 am
Wed January 4, 2012

New Year brings snow to northern Michigan

Cross-country skiers at the Vasa Pathway, maintained and groomed by TART Trails.
Photo courtesy of TART Trails.

Traverse City, MI – Unusually mild weather throughout the fall and early winter meant a slow start to the winter sports season in northern Michigan. It was the least-snowiest November and December on record.

But that all changed over the past couple of days. The new year brought several inches of snow to the area.

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In Michigan
6:15 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

2012 state budget talks underway

LANSING, MI –

State budget discussions are already underway at the state Capitol. Republican leaders say they began budget talks a few months ago for the coming fiscal year.

Governor Rick Snyder and legislative leaders say they have a head start because they adopted a second-year spending plan as part of last year's budget deal.

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In Michigan
6:09 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Parts of Michigan dig out after storm dumps snow

ALLEGAN, MI –

Parts of Michigan are digging out after a winter storm brought as much as 17 inches of snow, strong winds and hazardous driving conditions.

Some schools in Allegan, Cass and Van Buren counties in the southwestern Lower Peninsula were closed Tuesday following the snow, which began Sunday.

The National Weather Service says Allegan County received up to 15 inches of snow from Sunday through Monday evening. In the Upper Peninsula, more than 17 inches was reported in Houghton County.

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In Michigan
5:28 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Unemployment rate drops across much of Michigan

LANSING, MI –

The state says seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates have decreased in 14 of Michigan's 17 major labor markets.

The figures for November were released Tuesday. Rates declined everywhere except the Upper Peninsula and parts of the northern Lower Peninsula.

The unemployment increases were seasonal and reflect the end of the fall tourism season.

The statewide unadjusted jobless rate was 8.4%, down from 9.2% in October.

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In Michigan
5:28 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Senate Fiscal Agency economic forecast shows signs of improvement

LANSING, MI –

Economic forecasters at the state Capitol are preparing for a revenue estimating conference later this month. As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, a legislative economist says things could be looking up just a little for Michigan this year.

The Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency predicts economic growth could pick up in 2014, but progress will be a bit sluggish until then. David Zin is an economist with the agency.

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In Michigan
5:26 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Lawyers: Excuse Moroun from key bridge hearing

DETROIT –

Lawyers say the man long identified as the owner of the Ambassador Bridge really isn't the owner and should be excused from a critical court hearing next week.

A judge will decide the consequences of finding Detroit International Bridge Co. in contempt for failing to finish work on a project linking the U.S.-Canada span with two Detroit interstates.

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In Michigan
3:11 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

County sheriff's deed count is lowest since '06

MASON, MI –

Ingham county officials say sheriff's deed filings have dropped to their lowest levels in five years. They call it a sign of an improving economy and evidence that government efforts to limit foreclosures are working.

County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel junior says around 1,400 such documents were filed last year. That's a drop of 18% from 2010 and the lowest number since 2006.

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WKAR Features
1:44 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

New curator calls Broad role "once in a lifetime" opportunity

Alison Gass is the newly arrived curator of the Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University. Photo: Courtesy Alison Gass.

EAST LANSING, MI –

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In Michigan
4:16 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Spartans edge Georgia in 3-OT stunner in Outback Bowl

WKAR file photo

TAMPA, FLA –

Kirk Cousins threw for 300 yards and one touchdown and Dan Conroy kicked a 28-yard field goal in the third overtime, giving No. 12 Michigan State a 33-30 victory over No. 18 Georgia in the Outback Bowl.

Georgia's Blair Walsh became the Southeastern Conference's career scoring leader with a field goal in the second extra period, but he missed a 42-yarder in the first overtime after conservative play-calling. He also had a 47-yard attempt blocked on the final play of the game.

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WKAR Features
10:27 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Snyder: Public safety, better mental health services priorities in '12

WKAR file photo

LANSING, MI – Governor Rick Snyder says he hopes the state will start to enjoy some of the rewards next year of the difficult choices that were part of his plan to "reinvent Michigan." But he also says there are still school districts struggling with their budgets, and Michigan has some of the most-dangerous cities in the country.

Governor Snyder has this message for people who were hurt or offended by decisions the decisions he made this year:

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In Michigan
7:19 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Indigent defense could get revamp in 2012

LANSING, MI –

Michigan's poorly ranked public defender system may get an overhaul in 2012. As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, some lawmakers at the state Capitol say they are ready to revamp indigent defense in the state.

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In Michigan
6:20 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Group wants to legalize marijuana in Michigan

ANN ARBOR, MI –

A group that wants to legalize marijuana in Michigan has started an effort to get a measure before voters in November 2012.

AnnArbor.com reports the group Repeal Today For A Safer Michigan 2012 planned to hold an organizing event Thursday night in Ann Arbor.

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In Michigan
6:13 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Michigan to offer free tests to school districts

LANSING, MI –

The Michigan Department of Education is offering a new, voluntary tool for school districts to gauge whether students are on track for college and careers.

The department is funding a two-year pilot project that will offer free tests to school districts. The assessments are geared to eighth and 10th graders.

The tests align to the ACT college entrance exam component of the Michigan Merit Exam.

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In Michigan
6:09 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Services set for Michigan Chronicle publisher

DETROIT –

A funeral service has been announced for Samuel Logan Jr., the publisher of the prominent African-American newspaper the Michigan Chronicle.

The newspaper announced Thursday that Logan's service will be held at 10 a.m. Jan. 6 at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit. Hartford Memorial Baptist Church Rev. Charles Adams will officiate.

Visitation will be held from noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. next Thursday at the Swanson Funeral Home in Detroit.

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In Michigan
4:15 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Legislature could act soon to limit what can be burned in trash barrels

LANSING, MI –

The Legislature could enact new restrictions soon on what types of household waste can be disposed of in burn barrels. We have more from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta.

Household waste now includes a lot more toxic materials - such as computer parts, rubber, plastic, and treated wood. A rule proposed last year would have banned outdoor burning in communities that don't have a local trash-burning ordinance.

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WKAR Features
7:15 am
Thu December 29, 2011

MSU President Lou Anna Simon looks ahead

Michigan State University's Hannah Administration Building. Photo: Courtesy University Relations, MSU

EAST LANSING, MI –

The year to come will bring some challenges, as well as some important developments, at Michigan State University.

WKAR's Scott Pohl recently spoke with MSU president Lou Anna Simon about what's in store in 2012, beginning with the scheduled April opening of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

Designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, Simon says the museum has the art and architecture communities excited.

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In Michigan
5:27 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Mich. man may face trial in computer hacking case

LANSING, MI –

An Oakland County man charged with hacking into his estranged wife's computer to access her emails appears headed for trial after a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling.

An opinion released Wednesday affirms lower court decisions that would leave Leon Walker facing trial on computer misuse charges.

Walker's attorney Leon Weiss says they're considering an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Prosecutors filed charges against Leon Walker after Clara Walker filed a complaint against him last year.

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In Michigan
5:12 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Efforts continue to free man accused by Iran

FLINT, MI –

A family friend of a Michigan high school graduate accused by Iran of working for the CIA says efforts continue to free him.

Flint-area lawyer Muna Jondy told The Flint Journal for a story Wednesday that 28-year-old Amir Mirzaei Hekmati's family in Michigan was "frantic" following a report Tuesday from the semiofficial Fars news agency that he could face the death penalty.

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In Michigan
4:42 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Legislature could tackle water access controversy

LANSING, MI –

Some lawmakers at the state Capitol hope to resolve a long-standing controversy that pits lakefront property owners against backlot property owners. A bill could spell out what people are allowed to do to at road ends that offer public access to inland lakes.

As we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, they hope to have a law ready before warm weather draws more people to the water.

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In Michigan
4:41 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Lawmakers to revisit home heating assistance in 2012

LANSING, MI –

Lawmakers at the state Capitol say they are ready to begin talks next year on a long-term solution to the state's broken home-heating-assistance fund. The Legislature approved a short-term fix to keep low-income families' homes heated through this winter.

Democratic state Representative Jeff Irwin says a long-term solution needs to consider the profile of most low-income homes.

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WKAR Features
10:31 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Earlier autism diagnosis could mean earlier interventions

Michigan State University assistant professor of psychology Brooke Ingersoll.
Photo by G.L. Kohuth

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In Michigan
6:19 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

GOP leaders ready to move cyber school expansion

LANSING, MI –

There may soon be more online K-12 schools allowed to operate in Michigan. Republican leaders in the state Legislature say they want to approve a measure that would allow more so-called cyber schools when lawmakers return to the Capitol in January.

State Representative Tom McMillin chairs the House Education Committee. He says many lawmakers are impressed with the ability of cyber schools to help kids who struggle in or drop out of traditional public schools.

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In Michigan
6:18 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

Iran seeks death for Flint grad accused of spying

TEHRAN, IRAN –

An Iranian news agency says prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a Michigan high school graduate accused of trying to infiltrate Iran's intelligence services for the CIA.

The report Tuesday by the semiofficial Fars agency says Amir Hekmati repeated a confession at a hearing that was like one aired Dec. 18 on state TV.

The report says Hekmati's lawyer rejected the accusations.

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In Michigan
5:26 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

Michigan officials caution against budget plans

LANSING, MI –

Gov. Rick Snyder's administration says it would be premature to make plans to spend a likely surplus from the budget year that ended Sept. 30.

Some estimates show the state could have more than $800 million in the general fund and school-aid fund. Final numbers won't be settled for a few weeks.

Republicans who control the Michigan Legislature say there's really not much of a surplus when spending and income projections are taken into account for the next two fiscal years.

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In Michigan
4:42 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

Fight to resume in 2012 over money to train doctors

LANSING, MI –

A fight over money to train doctors in residency programs at Michigan hospitals will carry over to 2012. As we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, supporters say the money is a critical part of addressing a doctor shortage.

Laswmakers say money for training doctors was simply not a top priority to be addressed before the Legislature adjourned until next year.

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In Michigan
4:13 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

Frandor property owner confident Sears will remain open

Photo: Mark Bashore/WKAR

LANSING, MI –

The owner of Lansing's Frandor shopping center property says he's optimistic the location's Sears store will not be among those closed by the company. Pat Gillespie of East Lansing's Gillespie Group says he was reassured by Sears officials earlier this year when the retailer announced similar plans.

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WKAR Features
10:34 am
Tue December 27, 2011

New Ingham health director assesses obesity, other health challenges

Ingham County Health Officer Renee Canady and Assistant Deputy Health Officer Marcus Cheatham. Photo: Mark Bashore/WKAR

LANSING, MI –
As 2011 concludes, health issues are high on the agenda at the state capitol. Governor Rick Snyder's administration is shaping new policy recommendations in two areas considered critical: obesity and infant mortality. And the future of medical marijuana remains unclear.

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In Michigan
6:17 am
Tue December 27, 2011

DPS assurance bills most likely dead

LANSING, MI – A political battle at the state Capitol may put taxpayers on the hook to pay down the debt of Detroit Public Schools. Two bills that would assure the school district's bond insurers that it would not go bankrupt, and would allow the district more time to pay off its debt were prepared for a final vote in the state House on the last day of session for the year.

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In Michigan
6:14 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Senate could pursue cyber-bullying rules

LANSING, MI – Some lawmakers at the state Capitol say they would like to work in 2012 to provide some legal protections to K-12 students from cyber-bullying.

Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer says the Legislature should approve a measure that would require all school districts to prohibit bullying via home computers and personal cell phones. She says bullying on the internet is a fast-growing problem.

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